In a spellbinding new ad campaign for Quinn's, a new fruit-based alcohol beverage from premium liquor conglomerate Diageo, New York's 1st Ave Machine conceived and created a surreal vision of the natural world that is both exquisitely elegant and lushly raw via Mother London. The ambitious new ad, that began airing July 10, bears a stylistic resemblance to "Sixes Last," a striking music video for Alias (a.k.a. Brendon Whitney) directed by Arvind Palep and produced by Serge Patzek, both of 1st Avenue Machine.
"The creative team at Mother London were very impressed by 'Sixes Last,'" says Palep. "They thought it could work as a commercial concept and, as a result, we got the unique opportunity to develop a campaign from scratch."
A new addition to the RTD (ready-to-drink) market, Quinn's is a fermented-fruit drink in which everything, including the alcohol, is made entirely from fruit. Appropriately, the all-natural beverage receives an all-natural setting in the spot, which was shot over three days in El Yunque, the Puerto Rican rainforest located near San Juan. As anthropomorphic, yet entirely photorealistic berries and flowers collaborate to create a delicious-looking ruby red liquid, a vast assortment of exotic-looking, and decidedly humanistic plants begin to take notice. As the flowers begin to imbibe of the intoxicating nectar, the other plants gulp greedily at the overflow. Somehow, the scene manages to be both sophisticated and organic.
"Walking the fine line between natural and supernatural was a big challenge," says Patzak thoughtfully. "For one thing, this was the first time that we were dealing with alcohol, so there were a great many parameters to observe. The look of the plants couldn't be cartoon-like or challenge, and the clients were emphatic that they not look like something from another planet. At the same time, they wanted the plants to look utterly unique; unlike anything you've ever seen. So, our creations had to look completely different without looking alien. That's a tough balance."
Tough? Perhaps, but clearly not impossible for 1st Avenue Machine. The team began with the aforementioned three-day shoot in El Yunque, where Palep and Patzak, together with Mother creatives shot documentary-style footage of the magnificent rainforest, often going waist and even neck-deep into the mucky waters in order to get the right shot.
Returning to New York, Palep and Patzak edited the hard-earned footage before setting about creating the drink-producing plants. Using Autodesk 3ds max, their 3D software of choice, the team set about walking that fine line between natural and supernatural:
"The amount of work and detail in there is just extraordinary, especially considering that we had only six weeks to get it done," says Palep. "Ironically, the client's desire to make it entirely raw, realistic and organic actually made the spot extremely challenging technologically."
Adding to the pressure was the fact that the spot was entirely HD and primarily intended for cinema viewing:
"It can be a real challenge working in HD," says Patzak. "Obviously, render times are much longer, and the required level of detail is way higher. When you consider the number of wholly realistic plants in this ad, that required level of detail is increased even more. This was a tough job, but everybody is really happy with the results The creatives at Mother London were more involved than any others we've ever worked with before."
About 1st Ave Machine
1st Ave Machine USA Inc. is a NYC-based CGI VFX/Animation Boutique and Production Company working in the advertising, broadcast, music video, and feature film industries.
1st Ave Machine creates high-end design work by employing 3D in ways that blur the line between what one perceives as real and impossible.
Director Arvind Palep and producer Serge Patzak are the founders of 1st Ave Machine.
1st Ave Machine: https://www.dexigner.com/directory/detail/7440
Director: Palep, Arvind
Executive producer: Patzak, Serge
Production and Animation: 1st Ave Machine
Technical Director: Gragoras, Dan / Quinns Plant Design
Storyboards: Mauch, Christopher
Editor: Bruggemann, Eric
3D Modeling: Wolland, Lee
3D Dynamics: Zalanyi, Attila
3D Animation: Roberts, Cappac
3D Animation: Kealey, Sean
Lead Compositing and 3D Tracking: Chow, Weito
Pack Shot Production: Solovision
Pack Shot Producer for 1st Ave Machine: Scharfstein, Lee
Executive Producer: Soloway, Bruce
Producer: Soloway, Eric
DP: Viccarelli , Michael
Puerto Rico Shoot
Production Assistant: Orraca, Raymond
Post house: Moving Picture Company
Sound house: Factory
Music: MPM London